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Monday, May 18, 2015

Learn, Damn You

We should make a series of instructional videos titled: How to Train Your Patients. We could play it on an endless loop in the waiting area.

Our first lesson would be out-of-stock/special order items. In this first vignette, we would show this all-too-common occurrence.

Usual Man: I needs me a refill.
CP: Swell...Alas, we are out of this medication currently.
UM: What? I take this every month. Shouldn't your computer know I'm due for my refill and order this for me automatically?
CP: I suppose it could...But let us flash back to, well, each of the last 3 times you've been in here for this prescription, shall we? I personally spoke with you each time. I specifically mentioned, nay, pointedly told you, that this was a special order item we do not carry due to its expense. You are also the only patient who takes this.
UM: But you should know I'm due!
CP: You're saying I should know better than you, the patient, the person who actually has to physically reach inside the bottle and sees his supply dwindling daily down to infinite nothingness, that your prescription is due for a refill?
UM: Yes!
CP: Okay. Let me see if I understand this: For the last 3 months, I have told you to call this in at least 24 hours in advance. You won't sign up for the Refill Reminder Texts. You believe I should keep this medication in stock only for you. You get mad when, despite months of me telling you the same thing, you continue to ignore my advice and simple solutions to your problems. Do I have the gist of it?
UM: Um, yeah.
CP: I think you just keep coming here to argue with me. I think you look forward to this each month. I bet you circle this on your calendar every 30 days as a way to vent some frustration rather than refill your prescription.

At the end of the video, we would show that "UM" remembered next month to call in his refill 24 hours before he needed it...on a Saturday afternoon.

You're right. Scratch that. We might as well show videos of kittens playing with prescription bottles.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Expectation: At a fine dining establishment, perhaps the maitre'd or manager will approach your table at some point during or after your meal and inquire as to the quality of your visit. He will ask about the food and wine and thank you for your visit.

That's awesome. I feel as if that is part of the atmosphere I seek when I choose to spend a lot of cash at a really expensive, high-quality restaurant.

In today's society, especially in the me-first United States, it is expected that customer service is a priority above all else. Pharmacists are expected to write action plans if their customer service scores are low or dropping (low according to randomly established baselines set by the whore company). Ideas outlined in these action plans often include:
"I will smile more.",
"I will make eye contact with all 'customers' as they approach the counter...or even if I am walking to the bathroom and have the look upon my face of having held it too long.",
"I will kiss little babies and offer them suckers." (Not a good idea, but corporate is a sucker for babies.),
"I will offer random performances behind my glass wall, reenacting Tom Cruise's scenes from Cocktail...except with medication bottles instead of liquor."

All of this made me think of my restaurant experiences and this analogy: Forcing a pharmacist to smile and offer fake sincerities (we are genuine professionals, after all!) is like asking the manager at McDonald's to walk around the dining room asking if everyone is enjoying their meals and thanking them for "dining with us" today. It's a little out of place.

We are, by nature, caring individuals. That's the reason we chose the profession we love so dear. Corporations cannot try to deliver high-quality experiences whilst simultaneously offering a fast-food atmosphere.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Many?

CP: Greetings and salutations. How may I help you?
Not Sure Of Anything: I am calling to inquire as to how many prescriptions I have ready.
CP: There are two. Two prescriptions ready. ah ah ah...
NSOA: Okay, Count Pharmacist. Thank you.
CP: Anything else?
NSOA: Is there another one?
CP: Like a third one?
NSOA: Yes.
CP: No.
NSOA: Why not?
CP: Because I only have two.
NSOA: Are you sure?
CP: Pretty sure.
NSOA: Really sure. Like really, really sure?
CP: Like totally sure. If I had three, I would have said three. What good does it serve for me to lie to you? Wait, one, two, five!
NSOA: Really?
CP: No. Seriously, what do you expect, oh aptly named person?
NSOA: Not sure.
CP: Exactly. Sometimes, just for phun, we like to lie to people. We didn't become one of the most trusted professions any other way...It's common practice for us to lie to you. We tell you we only have two prescriptions ready for you, lower your expectations, then when you come in and least expect it, Surprise! we have three!
NSOA: That sounds marvelously exciting.
CP: I know, right? We're now training our technicians to have a little flair at the pickup window; put on a little show for those stuck waiting in the long lines (budget cuts, y'know?). They grab the first bag from the will call section, then with a little bit of legerdemain, pull out the third one and shout BOOM!
NSOA: Oh my. I just got chills.
CP: Make sure you call the 1-800 number and tell them how awesome we are.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Survey Monkey

What questions would you like to see on your Practice of Pharmacy, Employee Survey?
1. Does your company provide enough help for you to complete your tasks in a timely manner?
2. Does your boss help you fight the good fight or is she a corporate shill; a hollow shell of her former, behind-the-bench, RPh self? 
3. What could we, as a management company interested only in profit and not real pharmacy practice, do to improve the Profession of Pharmacy?
4. Do you believe that continuing to add tasks to your job description without adjusting your compensation is fair?
5. Do you believe the company values your (the employees') opinions on how the real world of pharmacy practice works?
6. Do you believe your employer values speed over accuracy?
7. Do you believe your employer's senior leadership is out of touch with how pharmacy is practiced at store level?
8. Are pharmacy patrons called customers or patients?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Phriday Phun

Now that Easter is over, I stocked up on all the discounted PAAS egg-dyeing kits.
Whenever someone complains their tablets aren't the right colour, we can either change it or give them their own personal make-it-the-right-colour kit. It's like Flavorx, but we'll call it ColouRx. We can charge a few extra dollars for each Rx. We'd have to price it on a scale based on how many they want dyed or a flat fee for the DIY kit.
The only problem I see is someone complaining their tablets smell a bit funky. Like douche. Or feet...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pharmacy is Your Destiny

From personality tests in high school to career days and guidance counselors, something led us along our paths to our phuture phate as pharmacists. While there may have been many, or few, aha moments that set you on your course, I believe some people may have been predisposed without realising it.

I wish to see this Help Wanted or College ad soon...

Are you a grammar Nazi? Do you like correcting people? Do you have any amount of OCD? Do you enjoy telling people how to do things? Then we have the job for you! Become a pharmacist and we will not only put your talents to good use, we will proudly embrace who you are. Where else can you knock other professionals down a notch by constantly critiquing their work...and get paid for it?

Pharmacy is the place where you can use all your talents. You get to decipher the handwriting of prescribers. You get to translate the jumbled phrasing of e-script directions into coherent, sensible verbiage that even the drunkest person can comprehend.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

License Required

There should be some sort of law, mayhap a requirement that the people who write prescriptions for medications should be trained and licensed.
I believe they should have to go to school.
I believe there should be some sort of apprenticeship or internship, or residency requirement.
I believe there should be a battery of tests they need to pass before said licensure.
I believe there should be required studies, especially focusing on the medications that will be prescribed and the laws governing how to prescribe.
I believe they need to show proficiency in all these areas before being granted a license.
I believe they should, once granted a license, be required to stay current with mandatory continuing education and board examinations.

I believe...what's that?...they DO have all those requirements? Then how can you explain this conversation with a Delightful Office Lady?

CP: Go for El Pharmacisto.
DOL: Is this the pharmacist?
CP: Ja. For sure. I am Inge from Sweden.
DOL: What?
CP: Never mind. How may I serve you, DOL?
DOL: I work at Dr. Zoffis and he is trying to prescribe something and we can't find it in our EMR.
CP: First, allow me to thank you for calling me. I cannot tell you how grateful I am when offices call to make sure they are sending electronic prescriptions correctly. It is much easier than relying on me to just fix whatever you sent. What is your question today, DOL?
DOL: "Doctor is trying to prescribe INTUNIV for a patient."
CP: Okay. That's pretty easy.
DOL: "But he wants the NON-ER version. He can only find the ER version in our system."
CP: Um. That's because Intuniv is an ER product. That is the design of THAT brand name.
DOL: "Can I just call in the non-ER?"
CP: You're serious? No you can't just make up a drug that doesn't exist just because Herr Prescriber wants it.
DOL: What should I tell him?
CP: He can prescribe Tenex which is the same drug, guanfacine, which is not extended release. It only comes in 1mg and 2mg though. Is that what he wants?
DOL: No. He says he wants Intuniv.
CP: He's a pediatrician?
DOL: Yes.
CP: Did he go to medical school?
DOL: Yes.
CP: Okay. Tell him he either needs to retire, or to drop his license in the mail and send it back to the Board then take a long vacation.

<3 hours and 11 minutes later>
CP: Surprise, surprise, surprise. Here's an e-script for Intuniv.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stupid is as Stupid Does…

Some say the end is near. Some say we'll see Armageddon soon. I certainly hope we will. I sure could use a vacation from this bullshit, 3-ring circus sideshow of freaks here... The only way to fix it is to flush it all away…

CP: Here's a prescription to check.
CP's Partner: Why is it on hold? It's an antibiotic.
CP: Check the profile.
CPP: This is already in our bagged and tagged section?
CP: Yep. Been there for a week.
CPP: Despite 4 phone calls, 20 text alerts, and 15 tweets reminding him to come get it?
CP: Yes.
CPP: Why did they call it in again today?
CP: Let's play pretend. You pretend to be Dr. Zoffis and I'll play the silly patient.
CPP: Okay.

CP (as Silly Patient): I'm not feeling well.
CPP: (as the dashing Dr. Zoffis): Poor baby. What's wrong? Didn't we just see you last week?
CPSP: Yes. But I'm not feeling any better.
CPPDZ: Why not?
CPSP: I'm not sure.
CPPDZ: Let me call in another prescription for you.
CPSP: Okay. If you think it will help.
CPPDZ: You call and let me know if you don't feel any better after I call this in for you.

CPP: That was phun.
CP: Pretty sure that's how it had to play out. No other explanation is plausible. Apparently SP missed the part about actually coming to the pharmacy, retrieving the prescription, then taking it into his body via the oral route.
CPP: Mayhap Dr. Zoffis should have asked if the patient had actually taken the first round of antibiotics that he prescribed?
CP and CPP: <fall onto floor in fit of sidesplitting laughter>
CP: I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
CPP: This would be like calling the garage about your leaking tires to complain they are losing air, scheduling an appointment, not showing, then calling again every day saying your tires are getting flatter and you can't understand why.
CP: Better yet. That'd be like going to a restaurant, ordering food, not eating any victuals, then ordering more food, continuing not to touch the tastiness before you, then wondering why your hunger continues to grow.